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Can we learn from big data in gambling?

Can we learn from big data in gambling

In many aspects of life, there is scope for analysing past events as a basis for future development. Almost all vocations require time for reflection on previous work, whether to maximise efficiency or identify weaknesses. Similarly, it is useful for bettors to log their wins and losses to identify what type of bet or game is most profitable for them. However, there is only so much to be learned from data sets like this because of the perils of the uncontrollable.

The best sports bettors will have well-planned strategies, possibly with statistical models of their own to identify value and potential examples of mispriced players or teams. Yet the best-laid plans can all fall apart so easily. A football team may appear to be value, but those odds account for having eleven players on the pitch for the entirety of the match. An early sending-off can change everything.

Luck will play a huge factor in a bet in any sport, and the same is true of similar high-risk gambling games. The use of big data in games like roulette and other like games, is a trap for players, luring the unwitting into believing that they have uncovered a sure-fire way of winning consistently. For example, analysing their roulette history may leave a player to believe they always win when they bet on a certain number. This is not a sensible strategy. The house always has the edge, which is why it is vital for roulette players to develop a method grounded not in big data but in a solid staking plan that accounts for probability.

The smartest roulette approaches enable players to maximise their winnings on a good day and minimise their losses on the inevitable bad days. That kind of approach is not just applicable to roulette but can be transferred to any sport. Big data may have more utility in many sports, but it still has its limitations. In roulette, there is obviously no telling where the ball will land. In sport, bettors may feel that they have uncovered an edge in the market but luck (or lack thereof) can change everything.

Take tennis as an example. The use of big data can uncover that a certain player thrives on outdoor hard courts against left-handed opponents ranked outside of the top 100. There is a wealth of statistics available at websites such as Tennis Abstract that enable users to sort vast quantities of data with specific variables in mind. Yet a player may enter a tournament with a niggling injury kept hidden from the world until exacerbated during a match, by which time it is too late for the punter. This is why big data can be useful for identifying value pre-match, but when watching the match, bettors should be ready to adapt their staking plan if necessary.

big data

The uncontrollable factors should not detract from good value, but it is crucial for punters to operate with caution. If those betting on horse racing were living in constant fear of a sudden bout of unfavourable weather, then lots of value would pass punters by. A horse may enter with a great record at that venue in the past, but a sudden rush of rain will change conditions entirely and make new favourites for the race. 

Big data has little use in roulette, which forces players to adapt to the unique nature of the game by developing effective staking strategies that account for the inevitable losses. This technique can be applied to all sports; the best bet ever may be derailed by weather or injury, but a smart staking plan that accounts for such variables will give punters the edge over the longer term. It is prudent to remain faithful to your long-term strategy rather than getting swept up in emotions by placing an unusually huge stake on a ‘dead cert’ of a bet. The use of big data may point to it being nailed on to come in, but a more considered approach will pay off across a longer period.